We’ve all seen them “Change your life in 21 days” “28 day weight loss challenge” “30 day fitness challenge”. These three are the most common lengths of time that you will see within the confines of the internet as well as bookstore shelves. There is a reason for this.
In the 1950’s Dr Maltz noticed a trend among their plastic surgery patients; it took at least 21 days for them to feel normal looking at their new reflection. Dr Maltz also noticed that those who had had limbs removed were feeling a phantom limb reported doing so for at least 21 days. But here is where it gets tricky. Dr Maltz said at least.
This whole change yourself in 21, 28, 30 day craze started because after Dr Maltz published their findings in the 1960’s every self help guru got a hold of the paper and dropped the at least. People being able to change their whole lives in 21 days sounded more appealing and more promising than at least 21 days.
Lets fast forward as to why I’m writing this.
Back in January I did Mark Sisson’s 21 day primal blueprint challenge. Certain topics were really simple such as removing the legumes and grains from my diet. The part that wasn’t so simple, the exercise. I had it bashed into my head by my Dr at a younger age “if it hurts to move, stop that.” With my everything too much movement sets me into a major flare of pain and I can’t move for a while. Even to the point of having to borrow mum’s walker to get to the bathroom, so I have to be damn careful. However, I tried to keep up with the movement of the challenge as best I could. Feb 1 rolled around and I gave up the movement. The amount in the program was too much and I was exhausted, feeling like I was only doing the movement so I could get the points from the app. My entire adult life I did have “if it hurts stop that” told to me though when I’d go out and have fun with friends or go for a walk however so I haven’t been very active. Every day was just too much.
Every week though doesn’t work with me, I don’t feel time pass and therefore don’t know when it’s been a week. Every other day tends to not work either. I haven’t felt time pass in years so I never remember if an event was yesterday or a week ago. I am also the biggest procrastinator in the world and will say “Oh I’ll do it tomorrow.” Even sometimes with my devotional schedule I do this.
Back to the info at the top.
According to an article published by Huffington post that original number of 21 days can be much more like 66 for the average person to form a habit. No wonder a lot of people fail their weight loss goals if everyone is thinking that lasting change can be made in 21! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html here is the article if you’d like to read it.
This doesn’t just affect weight loss goals though. It can affect meditation goals, devotional routine, remembering to eat 3 meals a day, brushing your teeth. EVERYTHING.
So don’t beat yourself up next time you’re failing at getting into a regular routine of doing something. We all have our hangups with regards to getting into routines. Some of us take longer than others and that is OK!